Monday, October 29, 2007

Private vs. Public

The Post on Sunday included an article about Como Elementary School in Mississippi, which included the following:
About 25 percent or more of the population is white, but only a handful of whites -- about 1 percent -- attend the public schools. Many instead attend Magnolia Heights, a private academy.
Como Elementary's student body is 99 percent black, and most of the students live in poverty, many in tattered mobile homes.

Magnolia Heights seems like a nice school. Most kids go on to college, they seem to have a lot of extra curricular activities, a lot of parental involvement, including a planned giving campaign that pays for things like new computers and upgraded sports facilities, and the school is very white. Magnolia Heights was founded in 1970. School desegregation in Mississippi began (after years of stalling by any tactic available) began in 1970.

I don't disagree with private schools in theory, but part of the reason Como Elementary is the worst school in the country (the premise of the article), is almost certainly related to the fact that so many concerned, active parents are drained out of the public schools by Magnolia Heights and other private schools. It is unjust for parents to pull their children, and by extension their time and energy, from public schools because of school quality. It is better to solve the problem than to enable it with your behavior.

Of course it's easy for me to get on my soapbox when I don't have any kids, and don't have to wrestle with this incredibly tough decision myself.

No comments: